You Can Do Anything But Not Everything
One thing I've learned is that if you want to stay productive and minimize the stress in your life you must learn the gentle art of saying no. Of course you want to help people around you but sometimes, such a thing is not possible, especially when you make too many commitments and have barely enough time for yourself. Saying no to someone, especially someone you love, is not a fun thing to do but is necessary if you care about your well being.
Just remember every time you say yes to something you don't really want to do you are saying no to yourself. To protect your time, your priorities and ultimately your happiness you can learn to say no gracefully.
I have some tips I use when I want to say no in a respectful courteous matter and have time for the things that matter to me the most.
1. Value your time and don't make excuses. When someone asks me to do something and I know I won't be able to I want to give an excuse. Or I should say, I used to want to give an excuse. "I wish I could but I have Angelina's rehearsal that night." This causes problems for a couple of reasons.
First of all it reinforces to YOU that you need a solid excuse to say "no" to something. You don't. If you don't want to go to brunch with a neighbor because you are tired and feeling anti-social just tell her you are sorry but you won't be able to make it. If you always feel the need to give a solid excuse for saying "no" you're more likely to feel like you need to say "yes" to something you'd rather not do.
Another problem with giving an excuse is that often I've had people invalidate my excuse or offer to remove it for me. For example " I can take Angelina to her rehearsal so you can organize the entire bake sale." No.
I believe the best way to say no is with an I'm sorry and a decision. "I'm sorry I am not able to organize the entire bake sale. I definitely can't make that commitment."
Sometimes the art of saying no can be applied to shopping. Say no to spending time and money. Do yourself and your wallet a favor and simply shop your closet. Even if you have a special event or want to look your best you don't have to spend the time or money on a new outfit. This outfit is from pieces I've had a while but never wore together. I did add my new 7charmingsisters necklace which I've not wanted to take off since I got it a couple of weeks ago. You may remember I spoke about how it is from the "Jessica Sexy Nerd" collection.
2. Offer Alternatives. When someone makes a request, think about the need behind the request and think of ways you are comfortable filling part or all of that need. For example if a friend asks you to go across town for dinner for at a fancy restaurant, you may not have the time or money. It's possible your friend just needs time with an adult friend. You can say "I can't make it. How about you come over this afternoon or sometime soon and I will make us a special meal?"
If you have a friend that doesn't have a car and calls for a ride often with little or no notice it can be very frustrating. You may technically be able to drop everything and take her but it would wreak havoc with your schedule, productivity and family time. You can ask this person to make a list of errands for the week and tell them a particular time you are available so you can drive all over just once and help the friend without feeling resentment.
You don't have to organize an entire bake sale but you may want to support your school, sports organization, church, neighborhood or a specific charity in their fundraising attempt.
This entire topic and situation reminds me of the character Kate Reddy from the novel and movie "I Don't Know How She Does It."
Kate Reddy ( Sarah Jessica Parker) is an employee at a Boston- based financial firm who struggles daily with the demands of her high powered career, husband ( the amazing Greg Kinnear) and kids. One of my favorite scenes is this one. She is rushing around because she desperately wants to make her daughter proud by baking something homemade for her school's bake sale.
Check it out here:
It doesn't have to be so complicated!
Here are some extremely easy ways you can contribute with very little time and effort! I promise that every single recipe requires very little skill but you do need to plan ahead. I do not recommend shopping for the ingredients a few hours before the bake sale like Kate Reddy does. Have the ingredients ready so when the day of the bake sale comes all you are doing is assembling.
And do not feel guilty about saying no just to "waste time."
Speaking of time, I hope you found this post worthwhile. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic or the look I put together. Do you find it hard to say no? Do you find yourself saying yes to things you didn't want to do ? Do you shop your closet? I look forward to hearing from you.
I really appreciate your time and attention.